Misconception About Tiv Hospitality.
The prime purpose of this piece is to examine the Tiv hospitality
against the background of the many misconception sold to the wider
society by some western scholers,writers and even by some ethnic
groups surrounding Tivland.
Despite the attempts made by some latter European
writers,anthropologists and ethnographers to redeem the image of the
Tiv already set ablaze by their anxiety to penetrate Tivland and to
establish alien rule in an era of imperialism,based their
understanding of the Tiv people on earlier 19th Century European
Rev.Fr.Dr. Ushe Mike Ushe in his masterpiece titled, “Kpor of Tiv
culture”(2010),elucidates,…the gross misconception about Tiv
hospitality in pre,Modern and Post-modern times. Some of these
misconception are: That Tiv are hostile and aggressive set of people
who like fighting with their neighbors in order to expand their
territorial boundaries. Second,that the Tiv do share their wives with
visitors in the name of hospitality. Third,that adultery and
fornication are not sins in Tiv Religion. Those who are either biased
or prejudiced about the Tiv people have blown these and other related
misconception out of proportion. However,we could ask: Are the Tiv
people really hostile? Is adultery as well as fornication not sinful
in Tiv Religion or society at large? Do the Tiv people actually share
their wives with visitors?
Dr.Ushe (2010) emphatically expresses this thus:…one important fact
to note here is that Tiv are vocal,open minded
people,curious,inquisitive and practical,especially when they are
unjustly maltreated,subjugated or when they want to project their
view. Paul Bohannan and Laura Bohannan (1953) confirm this,thus:
….the Tiv are the most practical and unsuperstitious people that we
had met on the vast continent of Africa….They are a group with an
independent turn of mind,and are the most ethnocentric people in the
In Tiv society fornication and adultery are known as sex taboo. Dr.
Ushe (2010) explain…sex is a sacred thing and if there is a breach
of its sacredness,the consequences are grievous. Suemo (2001) opines
that fornication and adultery are tabooed acts in Tivland because:
…Tiv people accept sexual intercouse as a natural need that is
strategic to human life…But the rate at which a Tiv man looks at
someone caught in the very acts of fornication and adultery shows how
criminal the acts are. In Pre-modern Tiv society,punishment for
committing such offences ranged from severe corporeal punishment to
contempt for the preson involved. If such persons swore “Swem”it was
believed that the would fall sick,have a swollen stomach,severe
headache and subsequently die.
Suemo's presentation above indicates that the Pre-colonial,colonia and
even post-colonial Tiv society frowns at sexual aberrations like
fornications, incest,homosexuality,lesbianism etc. The Tiv are always
forthright in attacking defaulters who indulge in these acts. These
deviant behaviors are considered by the Tiv people to sexual
aberrations. Those who indulge in any of those sex taboos was required
to make some required purification rituals so as to be cleansed.
In Tiv society,the practice of hospitality is highly emphasized. The
Tiv people have a strong philosophy of solidarity as “Ya kwagh na wan
igban”(eat and share with your brother), they also believed that this
philosophy can only be strong when people generously care for others.
The Tiv gesture of kindness and receptibility towards visitors has
often been misconstrued. But the fact still remains that Tiv people
hold in high esteem the virtue of : welcoming strangers,protecting
visitors (u eren a mba van nya dedoo), feeding the hungry (u naan mba
ijen i ker ve kwaghyan), housing the homless (u taren ior ikyar ki
yaven),among others. But it must be noted that Tiv people do not joke
with thier wives talkless of sharing them consciously with others. It
is common to hear a Tiv man say, “U keren kwase me tambe u ken ken”(If
you have lostful relationship with my wife I must bewitch you).
During the Pre-colonial times,there were several cases of fornications
and adulterers in Tiv society who were cursed,bewitched or even
killed. If the people could be so brutal against themselves for being
promiscuous,what would one expect when it concerns an outsider?
In generations past,the Tiv people were strong warrior tribe. Through
war conquests they aquired many slaves,among which were women. When a
Tiv man had a visitor,he would sometimes send one of the female slaves
to keep him company. The visitor who was not resident there would
think that the woman was the Tiv man's wife. But if the slave
eventually got pregnant and gave birth,the child became a slave by
birth this mean more hands at farm. Must of the slaves were later sold
to the whitemen.
I rest my pen.
The post Misconception About Tiv Hospitality. appeared first on Pointblank News .